The MacManiac

My first MacMania cruise was a month ago, but with all the travel I've been doing lately it's taken me a while to put together this little album of pictures. I didn't take them all, by the way. A number of these were taken by Janet Hill, who works for Apple Education. The ms Oosterdam This is the ms Oosterdam our home for the week. It holds 2600 people: 1800 passengers and 800 crew. There were about 250 MacManiacs. We may have been small in number, but no matter where I went on board ship there seemed to be someone with a Powerbook or wearing a Mac t-shirt.

If you like Pina Colada'sTalk about the perfect vacation. I hit the beach, enjoyed rum drinks in hollowed out pineapples, sat by the pool, and learned a ton about OS X, including the new Tiger and Applescript. I also met several dozen new best friends. All while gaining about seven pounds eating five meals a day. It doesn't get any better than this. If you're looking for a vacation that feeds the mind as well as the spirit (and the tummy), I highly recommend a Geek Cruise.

Henry in poolThe kids really had a blast. Abby talked two of her best friends from school into coming and they hung out the whole time. I think Henry spent as much time wet as dry. The ship had several pools and he always seemed to be in one.

Henry and KellyWe also had tons of fun hanging out with NY Times columnist, David Pogue, and his family. Henry and Kelly Pogue were excellent seafarers.

David Pogue's work ethicDavid put me to shame with his incredible work ethic. If he wasn't racing off to the cabin to work on the index to his latest Missing Manual, he was jotting down notes for his next presentation. And it showed. Each session was more entertaining and informative than the last. If you ever get a chance to see David speak, do it! I'm looking forward to seeing more of all the Pogues on MacMania 3.5.

Henry under a palm tree in Virgin GordaVirgin Gorda was amazing. Jennifer Pogue chartered a boat there from Tortola and we spent the morning exploring the caves and beaches. Then we sailed to another island for lunch. This palm tree called to Henry.

The Screen Savers livesHere I am flying the colors as we get off the charter. Consider this phase one of The Screen Savers world tour. Next summer, I'll wear a Screen Savers cap in St. Petersburg.

Geek Cruises hat - Geek Pride T-ShirtAll my wardrobe choices were carefully planned. Here I am in the complete Geek ensemble: Geek Cruise cap and Geek Pride t-shirt.

The WozIt was a kick to hang with Steve Wozniak. I'm glad to report that he's just as fun and genuine as he seems (although I was disappointed at the lack of pranks on board). My shipboard interview with Steve aired on KFI on November 14, but it's also available on the TLR podcast or you can download it in four parts here (Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4). I'm pleased to say that over 15,000 people have already listened to it.

I also enjoyed spending time with Applescript Product Manager, Sal Soghoian, who gave me a tour of the new Automator feature in OS X 10.4. This will be one of the most important new operating system technologies since the GUI and makes Tiger a must have upgrade. Essentially, Automator allows end-users to easily build workflows combining multiple applications and actions, then save the workflow to re-use or give to others. I expect a brisk trade in Automator workflows to spring up - there's already at least one website dedicated to Automator, and more will certainly follow.

The sun sets on another Geek CruiseIt's so wonderful to be able to spend a week with like-minded people. I didn't have to answer one question about removing spyware or fighting viruses. And for once, Mac owners were in the majority. One of the cruisers, Timber, even managed to sell Powerbooks to half the health spa staff.

I'm already planning my next Geek Cruise: a 10-day Baltic Blast to Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, and Stockholm June 30-July 10. I'll be giving talks, Woz and David Pogue will be back, along with Chris Breen, and many repeat cruisers. I hope you'll join us!

Photo credits: All pictures by Leo Laporte with a Nikon D-70 except Leo in Hat, Leo in TSS shirt, Henry by Palm Tree, and Woz by Janet Hill with a Canon Digital Rebel, and Leo sipping a Pina Colada by an unknown photographer with my Nikon D-70.